Published on April 23rd, 2019 | by Lauren Bycroft0
Shows Not To Miss On Netflix
True Crime on Netflix
As the final season of Game of Thrones is currently showing us, weekly television viewing and “water cooler chat” has become incredibly rare. Most discussions these days are centered on whether someone has seen a show and what streaming platform they can binge it on if they haven’t. People have begun to shift focus to entertainment they can enjoy on their own terms, especially if it can be viewed or listened to on their phones. Serial’s first season, centering on the murder conviction of Adnan Syed brought podcasts into the mainstream and highlighted how captivating true crime narrative can be. With that in mind it makes sense that true crime documentaries and miniseries have become increasingly popular – specifically on streaming platforms like Netflix. More bite size in nature than a multi-season show, they pack a concentrated wallop in their limited nature and unbelievable stories – the perfect combination for dissecting in conversation with coworkers or friends. Here are some of the best true crime offerings currently streaming on Netflix:
Abducted in Plain Sight
The kidnapping and brainwashing of Jan Broberg by family friend and neighbor Robert Berchtold is undoubtedly one of the most unbelievable and outlandish true crime stories in recent memory. Jan’s disappearance in 1974 involved astonishing manipulation of her parents as well as the vulnerable 12 year old. Told by the Broberg family, Jan’s parents Bob and MaryAnn as well as her sisters, the doc takes one wild turn after another. The bizarre and heartbreaking story is one that’s hard to take your eyes off of though it does leave a little to be desired in terms of the legal side of the story. It would be great to gain a little more perspective than we’re given outside the family. In the end, however, the strange story is one that may leave you scouring the internet and chatting with friends for even more insight into the case.
The Legend of Cocaine Island
One of the lighter true crime tales available, The Legend of Cocaine Island, may be a bit of a palette cleanser after hours of murder and abduction. The doc tells the story of construction company owner Rodney Hyden who finds himself in the middle of a get rich quick drug running scheme. The story unfolds in a series of one “you’ve got to be kidding me” moment after another, like the ultimate Florida Man meme. Though it doesn’t perhaps delve deeply enough into them, it also raises some fascinating questions about personal responsibility.
Evil Genius: the True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist
Tragic, bizarre, and one of those legendary true crime stories that may never have all the questions it raises answered, Evil Genius is a four part series about a pizza delivery man who attempted a bank robbery with a bomb strapped around his neck. The details only get more strange from there when the titular “evil genius” Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong enters the story. Bodies in freezers, a string of dead boyfriends and an elaborate heist; the series covers it all in captivating detail. The docuseries has a similar vibe to the podcast S-Town about a possible murder in a small Alabama town that became much more about the local man, John, an unreliable narrator obsessed with the crime.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
The slightly overly long 8-part docuseries, Disappearance, tells the story of one of the most infamous child abductions of all time. British family, the McCanns were on holiday in Portugal with friends when their three year old daughter was seemingly abducted from her bedroom while the parents ate dinner across the way at the resort’s tapas restaurant. What follows is a frustrating twelve year saga including mismanagement of the case by the Portugal police, the dogged pursuit of the McCann’s as suspects, and the eventual involvement of Scotland Yard.
The story behind the 6-part docuseries Murder Mountain is twofold. It starts as the story and investigation of the murder of Garret Rodriguez and unfolds to tell the greater tale of Humboldt County, California’s marijuana industries. It’s this larger context that makes Mountain unique and truly fascinating within the sea of true crime offerings. It delves into the difficulties and hardships of marijuana legalization and the divide between farmers who want to transition to legal growth and those, particularly those living on the titular Murder Mountain who choose to remain outside the law. Mountain is a heartbreaking, frustrating, and an incredibly compelling, well-woven true crime series.